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Some time ago, Mel Kleiman, a great author and a recruitment professional, published a provocative article: “Top 10 Ways to Ensure Your Best People Will Quit”. It’s a great to-the-point read, providing tips on what not to do. It serves as a warning for leaders who are worried their talented employees might be leaving soon. Here are Mel's top 10 ways to guarantee that the best people will quit.
What drives employees to leave:
- Treating everyone equally. As bad as it might sound, not everybody is equal. Some produce more, some less results.
- Tolerating mediocrity. Some of the top performers might not be excellent team players. Putting them together with a bunch of C-players is not good for anyone.
- Having dumb rules. We need rules to make sure everything runs smoothly. That doesn't mean these rules can be dumb.
- Not recognizing outstanding performance and contributions. It's just that important, give your employees feedback and recognize the behavior you want repeated.
- Not having any fun at work. Even when you're dealing with serious challenges, it doesn't mean you have to be serious all the time. Workplace can and should be fun. Check out our favorite virtual escape rooms for team building ideas.
- Not keeping your people informed. Once again, we are back to emphasizing the importance of internal communications.
- Micromanaging. Did you know, that 38% of employees would rather do unpleasant activities – like opt for more work or sit next to someone who eats noisily – than sit next to their micromanaging boss.
- Not developing an employee retention strategy. Do you have a list of people you can't afford to loose? What are you doing to keep them engaged?
- Not conducting employee retention interviews. It's already too late when your top-performer walks out the door. You need to be able to guess their thoughts beforehand. Learn how to measure employee engagement using pulse surveys.
- Making the onboarding process an exercise in tedium. Your new hires are most impressionable during the first two months on the job.
The Unanswered Question:
Kleiman's article says what leaders shouldn't do by providing behavioral examples one sought to avoid.
I don't think anyone is arguing with those. In one way or another, these behaviors could lead your employees out the door. Yet, there is one aspect that is missing. Let's take it one step further and answer the following questions:
What should you do to ensure your people stay engaged and on board? What can you do now to keep your employees from leaving in the future?
I am an advocate of positive thinking. As naive as it sounds, I believe our positive or negative thoughts have enormous effect on the result. Therefore, I believe we need to share our knowledge that has already produced great results. Here are 10 tips that make your employees stay around and keep them more engaged.
How to keep your employees from leaving?
1. Give more praise and recognition. It’s not always about money or tangible extrinsic rewards. Why? Many people quit because of lack of appreciation. Extroverts or introverts, your employees still get a kick out of public or private praise. Motivate your employees with rewards, as this is one way to recognize them for their wins.
2. Set clear objectives and goals. It’s difficult for employees to give their best if the task’s goal changes more often than they change their socks. Communicate your expectations clearly and set precise goals. Results are only as strong as the objectives you set. Try the management methodology Google and LinkedIn use —OKR—Objectives and Key Results.
3. Be future-driven. Analyzing the past is important to projecting the future. But focusing solely on employees’ progress isn’t enough in a fast-paced workplace. You also need to study the future, as impossible as it might sound. Using a management technique like PPP— Progress, Plans, Problems—helps you be aware of your teams’ plans.
4. Seek input and ideas. More often than we think, decisions are made without seeking input. This strategy might save you few minutes or hours, but it doesn’t guarantee success. Sometimes it’s okay not to be the smartest person in the room. Ask input from people around you. Your team has brilliant ideas; just learn to ask.
5. Give continual feedback. As tasks grow more complex and interdependent, people need more feedback. Employees need to feel that they are heard by their managers and they need it more often than twice a year. There is a correlation between employee engagement and periodic feedback.
6. Measure satisfaction. All of these tips mean nothing, if you fail to measure their success. Although it would be wonderful if it were true that one could verify that 2 pieces of feedback a week increased employee satisfaction by X percent, it is just not the case. Guidelines are only guiding lines. You are responsible for figuring out the exact actions. You can manage only what you measure.
7. Ask about emotions and attitudes. Don’t mix giving praise and providing feedback with asking about attitudes and emotions. The two are not the same. The first two relate to the result, the other two relate to the journey. You’ll be surprised what you learn about your team when you ask emotional questions.
8. Save time in meetings. One of the biggest employee motivation killers is wasting their time. Holding a poorly prepared status update meeting that lasts for hours wastes everyone’s time, including your own. Prepare for meetings; replace unnecessary meetings with online real-time tools. Try the free online Team Meeting Toolbox. Providing you with necessary tools before, during and after the meeting, so your next meeting will be awesome.
9. Don’t be too negative. Constructive feedback is necessary, even if it’s negative, but regular criticism will take down even the strongest. People have much greater recall of unpleasant memories than positive ones. To keep your people happy and motivated, be positive and lead by example.
10. Communicate openly. Open internal communication plays a big role in successful teamwork. Share your weekly plans and thoughts; it will encourage an open atmosphere. Only after mastering the skill of sharing openly can you expect the same from everyone else.
11. Bonus 🌟 . Get to know each other! Team building activities are an often-overlooked perk that engages employees and boosts their morale. As an employer, you're showing your employees that you want to invest in their personal happiness and that work isn’t everything. They also help build stronger bonds within your team – and as we all know, the hardest part of leaving a job is losing your colleagues that you’ve built friendships with over the years.
To get you started on your team-building journey, we've compiled a list of some of our favorite, popular activities.
- Virtual Team Building Activities:
- In-Person Team Building Activities:
So, what will you do now?
What are your strategies to keep your employees from leaving?
Weekdone Team Compass is a team management software loved by both managers and employees. It's designed to help you assess the most important factors that ultimately keep teams together. On a Weekly basis you get insights into team needs, progress, and engagement. You'll get: 1-on-1 check-ins, conversation, recognition, feedback, weekly planning, pulse surveys, and more!
Use Team Compass to keep your employees around, and more importantly – keep them satisfied.